Health Inc.

Makers Of CT Scanners Promise Radiation Safeguards

With President Obama and congressional leaders hashing out health overhaul on TV Thursday, you might have missed a pledge by the makers of CT scanner to do a better job on protecting patients from radiation risks.

Radiation button. i i

Mind the dose. iStockphoto.com hide caption

itoggle caption iStockphoto.com
Radiation button.

Mind the dose.

iStockphoto.com

But a trade group for the companies—including GE, Philips and Siemens—said they would add safeguards to the scanners that would warn technicians when the machines were about to exceed recommended radiation doses.

The extra checks will take time to finalize and install, with the changes rolling out by end of the year, the Associated Press reports.

The move came the day before the House Energy and Commerce Committee's health subcommittee holds a hearing on radiation safety.

Over the past year, a bunch of patients received radiation overdoses during diagnostic tests. Some of the overdoses were severe enough to cause burns and hair loss.

While the extra checks may help prevent overdoses made in error, they aren't likely do much about the increase in radiation exposure due to an steady rise in the number of scans. X-ray radiation—the kind used by CT scanners—raises a person's risk of cancer.

Over the past two decades, Americans' radiation doses have almost doubled, mostly due to increases in the use of CT scans, heart stress tests and angiograms.

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